August 11, 2012

At the Big Rock Café...


... watch out for the snakes.


What about Paul Ryan's wife and kids?

First, I love all the Wisconsin football clothes. Only the daughter isn't wearing a football shirt. I can see that's a Packers sweatshirt that Janna Ryan, the wife, has on. We've got 10 electoral votes here in Wisconsin, you know. And people love football. (Are Americans more excited about the campaign season or the football season? I say the football season, in part because campaigning never goes away, so there's no season anymore to look forward to — other than to look forward to its ending.)

So, here's a lovely, wholesome family. Janna, looks a bit like Ann Romney to me, but the 2 women are distinctly different:
Janna Little, the future Mrs. Paul Ryan, was a Washington tax attorney living in Arlington, Va., when she met him. The Oklahoma native graduated from Wellesley College and George Washington University Law School.
Despite some Googling, I can't figure out if she still works or if she became a full-time homemaker.

Speaking of Googling, CNN can't bother to do the most basic Googling. I just heard it say that Ryan is from a "small town" in Wisconsin. Janesville isn't a small town! It's a small city, with a population over 60,000. It takes 2 seconds to discover that. If you don't bother to get the little, easy things right, why should we ever trust you? Of course, we don't. Speaking of small... CNN ratings are way down.

"R and R, Romney and Ryan — Republicans will like that."

Says Meade, and I say: "The military?" (R&R is military slang.)

"RR," he prompts, and I think of railroad, but don't bother to say it, even though in 2010 I voted for a Republican (Scott Walker) on the single-issue of the railroad.

"RR — Ronald Reagan!"

Let the Romney/Ryan logos use the double R to remind us of the party's greatest modern-day hero, Ronald Reagan.

"Mitt Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan."

That's my post title from April 1st, and it was not an April Fool's joke. I attended a rally here in Wisconsin, where the 2 men appeared together, and that's what I felt I was looking at.
[T]he team of Romney and Ryan was excellent. They answered questions from people as equal partners — some deference to Romney, but basically equals. Ryan is a terrific speaker, and he got more applause than Romney a couple times. Hearing them answer the same question, one after the other, I kept thinking Ryan is the stronger of the 2. And that's not to say Romney was unappealing, just less intense.

Surely, Romney will pick Ryan as his VP. Right?

I had the feeling there were 2 future Presidents in the room.
Here's my photograph of them (in the overflow room):


Sitting down to write this post, I asked Meade, "So what does this mean?" He said: "The economy." The election is/must be about the economy.

August 10, 2012

Signs point to Paul Ryan.

As Romney will name his VP tomorrow.

UPDATE: The signs were correct!

At the Busted Nut Bar & Grill...


... you can talk about whatever you want.

"The right to work for a living in the common occupations of the community is of the very essence of the personal freedom and opportunity that the Constitution was designed to protect."

Wrote the federal judge who struck down Utah's requirement that you need a cosmetology license to work as a hair braider.

This is a sharply libertarian result, so I find it amusing to see NPR and Matthew Yglesias celebrating the decision. Why would liberals love a decision second-guessing the legislature's judgment about the extent of government regulation in the economic realm? Click on the links and see if you too are amused.

Fareed Zakaria plagiarism screwup.

How is it possible for someone in his position to make a mistake of that kind?

The risk far outweighs any convenience in copying material like this. It can't be deliberate. It's easy these days to copy something for your notes and later simply mistake it for something you've written. It's also possible that someone else, someone untrustworthy, ghostwrites for him. Or perhaps there are talking points floating around in email and both LePore and Zakaria cut and pasted the same thing.

"Can Zimmerman win 'stand your ground' hearing?"

"Central Florida lawyers predicted that, based on the evidence released so far by prosecutors, Zimmerman has a strong chance of winning."

"It's Jon Huntsman Sr, right Harry?"

Kos points the finger.

Or should I not have blogged this? Should Kos be getting traffic for dropping this rumor? How is what he's doing different from what Reid did? We shouldn't be feeding off rumors like this...

Sorry. I know I don't need to post this. It's silly for me to say "Or should I not have blogged this?," since obviously I haven't hit "publish."


ADDED: Huntsman denies it, but says Romney should release more tax records.
This matters, because Huntsman is a longtime backer of Romney — he has long been close to Romney; he supported his early campaigns; he was the national finance chairman of Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign; and he has raised a lot of money for him over the years. (He backed his own son in the latest GOP primary.)

Obama's slightly ahead in most polls...

... by he's actually in serious trouble, for 4 reasons. I'll just highlight reason #3: Money.
Romney has been outraising Obama for the last three months; in July, the GOP candidate and his party took in $101 million to Obama and the DNC's $75 million. Obama also has been spending his campaign cash faster than it's coming in, investing up front in staff, field offices, and the early ad blitz they hope will define Romney. That means the Republicans also now have more cash on hand to spend down the stretch, $170 million to the Democrats' $144 million as of the end of June. And then there's all the pro-Romney super PACs, which are expected to far outgun their Democratic counterparts, possibly spending as much as $1 billion. As Obama himself complained at a campaign stop in Colorado Thursday: "Over the next three months, you will see more negative ads, more money spent than you've ever seen in your life. I mean, these super PACs, these guys are writing $10 million checks and giving them to Mr. Romney's supporters."
Funny that he's complaining about the next 3 months. He's gone heavily negative in the past 3 months, spending a disproportionate amount of money early, betting that he can win by planting it in everyone's head that Romney's an evil rich guy. If that gamble were working, Obama would be doing better in the polls. Now, Romney has much more money. It's scarcely unfair! Obama and his people made a decision about how to campaign, and they should own it, not whine about it.

And I don't trust the polls. I'd like to see the internal polls, which are not about spinning public opinion. Presumably, these displays of desperation tell us something about what they're looking at in the secret, honest polls.

"A veteran US law-enforcement official has filed a blockbuster discrimination lawsuit against Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano..."

"... charging she pushed him aside to make way for a less-qualified woman who’s 'enjoyed a long-standing relationship' with the anti-terror chief."
The lawsuit... identifies the woman as Dora Schriro, who was later appointed by Mayor Bloomberg as commissioner of the city Department of Correction, a post she still holds.

The court papers also allege that Suzanne Barr, Napolitano’s chief of staff at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has engaged in “numerous” acts of “sexually offensive behavior” intended to “humiliate and intimidate male employees.

Barr’s alleged acts include calling one man “in his hotel room and screaming at him that she wanted his ‘c--k in the back of [her] throat.’ "
ADDED: Blogger Debbie Schlussel broke the story — and is irked that major newspapers didn't credit her.

David Rakoff has died.

I'm really sorry to read about the death of this wonderful writer, who was only 47. Over and over, I've listened to his gentle, humorous voice reading his brilliant essays in "Don't Get Too Comfortable" and "Half Empty" and "Fraud."
Mr. Rakoff’s cancer had first appeared when he was 22 and recently reappeared as a tumor in his left shoulder.

The return of his cancer, and the possibility that his arm and shoulder would have to be amputated, were the subjects of the concluding essay in Mr. Rakoff’s most recent collection, “Half Empty” (2010), a darkly comic paean to negativity.

August 9, 2012

"What was the best part of working at Bain?"/"I’m not sure people would think of me in this light, but..."

"... frankly what I enjoyed most about Bain & Company, the consulting firm, was the analytical process of solving tough problems."
If a client invites you in and is ready to pay a lot of money for your counsel, it is not because you know their business better than they do. Of course, they know their business better than I ever would. But they’re looking for someone to understand their business challenges in a new light. And that presents an analytical challenge which is steep and exciting. And I love the thinking and the analyzing as much as anything. 
Does America want to be Mitt Romney's client? Should we submit our tough problems to him for analysis? Well, if that's his thing, we should right now be looking at his analysis of our tough problems. There should be some amazing solutions laid out of the table for us to look at. Are we seeing that?

Romney back on top in the Rasmussen Daily Tracking Poll.

47% to 43%.

That was odd. Romney had been ahead, then after the weekend, Obama went up, then fell back, a point each day. Who knows why? When Obama went ahead, we were experiencing that idiocy with Harry Reid telling us he'd heard that Romney hadn't paid any taxes for 10 years. If that was effective, why hasn't it been effective to say Romney killed a lady? There are lies and there are lies...

"Social issues are far down the priorities list, and I think that’s the trend."

"That’s where it needs to go if the Republican Party is going to be successful."

So say the young party members.

I'm old, and I'm not a member of any political party, but I agree.

New Marquette poll: Tommy Thompson 28%, Eric Hovde 20%, Mark Neumann 18%, Jeff Fitzgerald 13%.

With 21% still undecided, the Thompson lead isn't very impressive. And Thompson has gone down since the last poll, last month, when he was at 35%. Hovde too is down. He was at 23% last month. It's Neumann who's up — 8 points from last month's 10%. And Fitzgerald is still at the bottom, but he's more than doubled his support, having been way down at 6% in July.

Although Hovde is down 3 points, the gap between him and Thompson is smaller — from 12 to 8 points.
When undecided voters are asked which candidate they lean towards, the vote becomes 33 percent for Thompson, 24 percent for Hovde, 21 percent for Neumann and 15 percent for Fitzgerald. Seven percent remain undecided. The Republican primary results are based on 519 likely voters (i.e., those who say they are certain they will vote in the August 14 primary).
I see 2 big questions: 1. Is non-Tommy sentiment essentially anti-Tommy? 2. If so, can the anti-Tommy people settle on one of the non-Tommys?
Among the 19 percent of likely primary voters who describe themselves as “very conservative,” there is a close-packed tie for the lead, with Hovde at 24 percent, Neumann at 22 percent, Thompson at 21 percent and Fitzgerald at 15 percent. Among those describing themselves as “conservative,” who make up 52 percent of likely primary voters, Thompson has an advantage at 27 percent to Hovde at 20 percent, Neumann at 19 percent and Fitzgerald at 13 percent. Among the 20 percent of likely voters calling themselves “moderate,” Thompson receives 34 percent to Hovde’s 18 percent, with Neumann at 14 percent and Fitzgerald at 13 percent.
It's hard to figure out how to vote strategically — assuming your goal, as a GOP primary voter, is, above all, for the Senate seat to go to the Republican. But it's an open primary, and Democrats might try to get the weakest candidate in. (But who would that be? Neumann?) Or Democrats might pick Thompson, on the theory that he's the least conservative. The Marquette pollster says that including only Republicans made little difference in the numbers — maybe because Democrats looking at Republicans split between the best loser (Neumann?) or the least-bad winner (Thompson).  

"This is a store that sells 300 rolls of toilet paper at the same time."

"And I say any customer that buys 300 rolls of toilet paper deserves a funny book to sit on the toilet and read."

Joan Rivers protests Costco, which banned her book, supposedly because of 2 "parody quotes" from Marie Antoinette and Wilt Chamberlain.

Is this like the fake Bob Dylan quotes that led to the publisher's pulling copies of Jonah Lehrer's "Imagine"?

But a comedy book is different from the kind of nonfiction pop science stuff that's written by semi-serious authors like Jonah Lehrer — the Malcolm Gladwell-type book. Comic writers make up quotes all the time. Is the Onion in trouble? They're always running with fake quotes, like, for example, Michele Bachmann expressing relief that "not a single American died" in the recent temple shooting. It should be okay in the realm of comedy. People get what comedy is, especially when there's a well-known it's-a-joke brand like "The Onion" plastered on it. Except they don't.

People can be pretty dumb. Should we set up the world for the safety of the dumb?

Criminal charges coming in the petition signature scandal that ended Thaddeus McCotter's congressional career.

"McCotter's campaign turned in more than 1,830 petition signatures by the May 15 filing deadline."
However, all but 244 of them were tossed after the Secretary of State's Office found widespread photocopying of petition signature pages, copying and pasting of past signatures with changes to the date, and alterations of petition ID numbers.
Did McCotter insiders do it?

"Hey, whatever happened to Ann Romney's horse?"

"Somehow this is making me think about that."

I say, just now, looking at this.

"She should have paid them at least 10 grand. Two grand is not enough to get that kind of work done right."

When your first reaction to a murder-for-hire plot against you is the insult of paying so little for the murder:

Speaking of God and of Republican senatorial candidates preferred by Democrats, there's a primary next week in Wisconsin.

In this week's Missouri primary, Democrats helped Ted Akin with ads that promoted him as more conservative than his opponent.
Democrats perceived Mr. Akin as the weakest general election candidate because he has a 12-year congressional track record that's ripe for excavation and wears his Christian faith on his sleeve. That can sometimes be unbecoming, as it was last year when he slipped that "at the heart of liberalism really is a hatred of God."...
According to the Daily Kos, Democrats are looking at the Wisconsin primary and hoping ex-Congressman Mark Neumann defeats businessman Eric Hovde and former Governor Tommy Thompson. If Neumann is the GOP Senate candidate, he'll have his own "God" quote to answer for:
In 1996, Neumann said, “If I were elected God for a day, homosexuality wouldn’t be permitted.”  Years later he clarified the remark, explaining he would not want God’s job.

Neumann has also suggested he wouldn’t hire an openly gay staffer.  “If somebody walks in to me and says, ‘I’m a gay person, I want a job in your office,’ I would say that’s inappropriate, and they wouldn’t be hired because that would mean they are promoting their agenda,” Neumann said in an address to the Christian Coalition.  “The gay and lesbian lifestyle (is) unacceptable, lest there be any question about that.”
It's one thing to oppose same-sex marriage, quite another to promote employment discrimination against gay people. Even worse is banning homosexuality. Neumann knows that can't be done in America. We have constitutional rights that prevent legislators from outlawing homosexual sex, and, yes, if you got a couple more Scalias on the Supreme Court, it might conceivably overrule the precedent, but Neumann wished to end "homosexuality," not merely sexual activities between same-sex partners — the state of feeling sexual desire for a person of the same sex. That is, he's objecting to the inner thoughts and feelings of the human individual, and he knows he'd need to be God to accomplish that end. And so the legislator imagines himself as God.

God save us from legislators who fantasize about being God. When I think of what conservatism means, I think of limited government, respect for decisionmaking in the private sphere, and modesty about re-engineering human nature. And when I think about God, I don't go wishing he'd made the world a different way. And ironically, attempting to appeal to Christians, Neumann spouted blasphemy: God should have done a better job. So you think God goofed when he made homosexuals? You're telling gay people they're mistakes, and you'd like to nudge God out of the way and eradicate those mistakes. Presumably, the Neumann God wouldn't smite the homosexuals — Sodom-style — but somehow cause them not to exist. And yet, Neumann is, of course, opposed to abortion. Embryos are creatures of God, who challenges us to accept what He has willed into existence and to respond with love and humility to the burdens He has laid upon us.

There are gay people in the world, how do you respond to that trial? Do you love them and respect them as human beings, entitled to equality and autonomous decisionmaking? Or do you run for office, promoting yourself to religious folk by fantasizing about having the power of God and using it to eliminate people toward whom they feel animosity? It's bad religion and it's bad politics. The mask slipped, and what we saw was not conservative.

(By the way, the Democratic candidate, Tammy Baldwin, is lesbian.)

August 8, 2012

At the White Sangria Café...


... relax and refresh!

"The O'Reilly Factor" comes to Madison, Wisconsin.

"In 1964, JFK is reelected, with LBJ as VP. The GOP does not yet do its big shift to conservatism..."

"... and its defeated candidate is Nelson Rockefeller...  Barry Goldwater rises up in 1968...."

Yes! It's true! I finally got around to it and posted the details of the alternate history, the hypothetical based on the non-assassination of JFK, that Meade and I talked about to pass the time as we biked the Capital City Trail on August 3. Thanks to everyone who contributed other alternate histories! I'll repeat our scenario below the fold here for your convenience:

"Country superstar Randy Travis walked naked into a convenience store to buy cigarettes, touching off a bizarre series of events..."

"... that ended with him being charged with threatening to shoot a state trooper in North Texas, police and sources said."

Romney campaign expresses pride in Romneycare.

Surprising and good response to that powerful Obama ad that we've been talking about in this earlier post.

I really think that it's not enough for Romney supporters to say Romney wasn't personally responsible for the decision that led to this man's loss of his job. Romney's business was to do practical and efficient things that result in some people losing their jobs, and he needs us to be able to believe that's just fine — that the purpose of business is to make money, not to take care of people and that's what works out for the best in a system of capitalism.

But then what happens to people who lose their insurance, like this poor man whose wife learned too late that she had cancer? We feel empathy to him and he stimulates legitimate fears that we have about ourselves and people we love. It's not enough for the Romney campaign to fiddle around with the details about Romney's connection to this man's losing his job and when and why the cancer killed his wife.

We're looking at a specific man but a generic problem: People not seeking treatment because they don't have insurance and don't want to spend their own money going to the doctor until it's an emergency. Obamacare is one answer to this problem, and Romney's position is that he will end it. He needs to inspire confidence in what he would do instead. Today, we see Romney pointing proudly Romneycare, which the Obama campaign normally uses against him. It's a credential, not an embarrassment all of a sudden.

"Carbon Credits Gone Awry Raise Output of Harmful Gas."

Manufacturers "quickly figured out that they could earn one carbon credit by eliminating one ton of carbon dioxide, but could earn more than 11,000 credits by simply destroying a ton of an obscure waste gas normally released in the manufacturing of a widely used coolant gas."
That is because that byproduct has a huge global warming effect. The credits could be sold on international markets, earning tens of millions of dollars a year.

That incentive has driven plants in the developing world not only to increase production of the coolant gas but also to keep it high — a huge problem because the coolant itself contributes to global warming and depletes the ozone later.
If they "quickly figured" it out, then it was obviously always foreseeable, but we're told "the United Nations... established what seemed a sensible system." Why could it "seem" sensible? Only through outrageous negligence or deliberate corruption. Which was it?

Underwater cameras and the grabbing, wrestling, suit pulling and ripping, and the nakedness of water polo.

"The person that invents a suit that’s not going to move is going to make a lot of water polo players happy."

"The pat story line of black gymnast breaks the color mold was not only old and too neat, it was especially untruthful."

"'The last seven [American] gymnastics teams had women of color on them,' pointed out Dominque Dawes, the 1996 gold medalist."
[Gabby] Douglas genuinely doesn’t see color — it’s not her first thought. Yet she was drilled incessantly with questions about being a woman of color in gymnastics. How can she get more African American children to pay attention to gymnastics, she was asked? “I can’t control that,” she said tonelessly.

Perhaps her most baffled moment came when she was asked what she saw when she walked into a gymnastics class for the first time. She replied evenly that she saw a lot of talented athletes. That answer wasn’t good enough. Did she ever think because she was African American and didn’t see many other black gymnasts that she couldn’t succeed at it?

“You know I didn’t,” she answered. “Because everyone told me I had such a beautiful talent. I was a fast learner, quick learner. I picked up stuff very good. I don’t know, I was just a fast learner.”

"Russian Muslim 'catacomb sect' faces cruelty charges."

BBC reports:
Police found 27 children and 38 adults living in catacomb-like cells, dug on eight levels under his home.... Some children had literally never seen the light of day, Russian media report....

According to the Russian website Islam News, [Faizrakhman] Sattarov, 83, declared himself an Islamic prophet in the mid-1960s after interpreting sparks from a trolleybus cable as a divine light from God....
Traditional Muslims regard Muhammad as the last prophet, so these "Faizrakhmanists" are on their own.

We were just talking about the Russian Penal code in connection with the Pussy Riot case (in which the charge is "hooliganism"). In this case, the charge, under Article 330 of the code is "arbitrariness." That is the "unauthorised commission of actions contrary to the order presented by a law or any other normative legal act."

Dolphin kicking — when and why it's illegal and whether Olympic officials should police it more closely.

The underwater cameras that NBC used throughout the Olympics could easily detect illegal kicks, allowing judges to disqualify scofflaws immediately. So why doesn’t FINA use the swimming equivalent of the replay booth? Probably because it’s less controversial to let swimmers get away with Flipper-izing than it is to kick someone out of an Olympic final. And maybe FINA also realizes that stricter guidelines would slow down times, reducing the volume of attention-getting world records.

"I don't care about Chick Fil A or gay marriage. I do care about observing my friends engaging in groupthink right there in front of me...."

Writes Chip Ahoy, in the Chick-fil-A thread a few posts down.
Don't like that. It's a very unsightly thing to behold, everyone standing around agreeing that some old man who expressed a traditional opinion personifies HATE. Every happy gathering becomes some kind of mini political caucus where lines of thought are stroked and combed. I must toss a screwdriver into that. But in the end I am enjoying the company of other people less and less. It's not that I don't respect different opinions, it's that I don't respect poorly developed opinions and spoon-fed opinions, it's seeing my friends' personalities subsumed to the most radical expressions. So I go to a party and the conversation is whatever the present day activists out there say is is and gone are any unique points of view or any unique expressions. Conversations with the DNC, conversations with the most political active, not conversations with my friends, they are all mouthpieces now.
And then:
I just realized how to deal with that. Comically turn the speaker into into the person they sound like but pick an egregious example. "Tell me Debbie Wasserman Schultz, I'm very curious about this, what did that owner of Chick Fil A say exactly?" Just acknowledge that you're speaking to someone else.

Inquire thoughtfully, "Who should I put on to respond?"

Since we're using other peoples' words, other peoples' thoughts.
Ha ha. That reminds me: Back in the 1970s, one time — one time! — I defended Richard Nixon for something, and for quite a while after that, my then-husband thought it was funny to call me "Baruch."

"Wade Michael Page is dead, having shot himself in the head..."

"... after being wounded by police responding to the fatal shooting of six people at a Sikh temple outside Milwaukee."
At the moment, detectives are sifting through the gunman's life, assembling the biography of a man who apparently had few relatives, a spotty work history and a thin criminal record. They have warned they might never learn for certain what drove him to attack total strangers in a holy place. [Teresa Carlson, FBI special agent in charge in Milwaukee] said Wednesday that investigators have not found any kind of note left by Page....

"We just want to get to the bottom of what motivated him to do it," said Amardeep Singh, an executive with the New York-based Sikh Coalition. "It's important to acknowledge why they lost their lives."
It's certainly important to know whether the murders resulted from one man who cracked or whether the groups he is associated with are fomenting murder. Reading about Page, we assume the racist groups were part of his action, even if he was a crazy loner. But that's an assumption, made from a distance, and loathsome as racists are, it's important to understand the extent to which they are actively inciting murder.

"People before would stare at them because they’re different."

"I hope now, they’ll look at them with eyes of compassion because their hearts are broken."
A mass killing directed toward a particular religious group has the power to change how the [attacked] congregation views the outside world, says David Weaver-Zercher, a professor of American Religious History at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa., and author of “Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy,” a study of the 2006 attacks against an Amish school in Nickel Mines, Pa.

"61% Hold Favorable Opinion of Chick-fil-A."

Says Rasmussen.

Sandra Fluke campaigns alongside Barack Obama.

In Denver.

Presumably, she'll be saying what she's writing in HuffPo today. (She's no longer identified as a law student, but is now: "Public Interest Law Scholar, Georgetown University Law Center," which seems to mean that she's been hired by the law school she just graduated from.)
Since day one, President Obama has fought for women's health care rights and the economic security that goes with access to affordable insurance. I wish that were true for Mitt Romney.

Mr. Romney offers only dangerous promises to roll back these rights. I'm going to take him at his word -- and every woman in America should, too. On Obamacare, he says he'll "kill it dead" on day one, eliminating mandatory coverage for lifesaving preventive care and once again letting insurance companies play by their own rules....
Are you getting the message that Romney is about killing women? Did you miss this ad?

You may think this is nonsense, but it's very emotional and millions of people will vote based on the emotion that is being rubbed raw right now.

UPDATE: Romney defends with Romneycare! "A Mitt Romney spokesperson offered an unusual counterattack Wednesday to an ad in which a laid-off steelworker blames the presumptive GOP nominee for his family losing health care: If that family had lived in Massachusetts, it would have been covered by the former governor’s universal health care law."

Do you think Romney needs to pick Paul Ryan?

There's no reason to think Politico wants to help Romney, but they've got an article purporting to describe the split within the GOP, and the second sentence over there is:
Ryan advocates, including some of his colleagues and high-profile conservative elites, believe Romney will lose if he doesn’t make a more assertive case for his candidacy and that selecting the 42-year-old wonky golden boy would sound a clarion call to the electorate about the sort of reforms the presumptive GOP nominee wants to bring to Washington.
Wonky golden boy would sound a clarion call... Hmmm. Okay, here's the other side of the split:
Their opposites, pragmatic-minded Republican strategists and elected officials, believe that to select Ryan is to hand President Barack Obama’s campaign a twin-edged blade, letting the incumbent slash Romney on the Wisconsin congressman’s Medicare proposal and carve in the challenger a scarlet “C” for the unpopular Congress.
A clarion is a "shrill-sounding trumpet with a narrow tube, formerly much used as a signal in war." So Ryan is either a shrill war trumpet or a double-edged sword, but if he's a sword, the sword is handed to Obama who then slashes plans to... uh... slash spending and he carves letters into Ryan's body. The hell?! Whatever happened to civility? And not just civility, but attention to metaphor and parallelism in writing? Ryan is a trumpet or the act of handing a sword to Obama. How do we know Obama wouldn't grab the trumpet, and maybe Romney could use the sword?

I think Ryan would be a great VP choice who would clearly help Romney. (I saw the 2 of them campaigning together here in Wisconsin.) But I'm thinking that if Romney becomes President, Ryan will be more of a help in the House than as VP. Here's my post from April 1st. It was titled: "Mitt Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan." I said:
[T]he team of Romney and Ryan was excellent. They answered questions from people as equal partners — some deference to Romney, but basically equals. Ryan is a terrific speaker, and he got more applause than Romney a couple times. Hearing them answer the same question, one after the other, I kept thinking Ryan is the stronger of the 2. And that's not to say Romney was unappealing, just less intense.

Surely, Romney will pick Ryan as his VP. Right?

I had the feeling there were 2 future Presidents in the room.

Madonna and Yoko Ono appeal to Vladimir Putin to free Pussy Riot.

Pussy Riot is on trial for a performance in the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in which they "danced and sang a song which parodies a Christian prayer, imploring the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of Mr Putin." They are charged with "hooliganism" (or whatever word or words in Article 213 of the Russian penal code have been translated into "hooliganism") and "are accused of inciting religious hatred." The chose the site for their performance, "in front of the altar of Moscow's main cathedral" because "the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, publicly back[ed] Mr Putin in elections."

IN THE COMMENTS: Irene points out that the English word "hooligan" began around 1898 and quickly made its way into Russian, where it is "khuligan."
By 1900-01 khuligan was widely used to describe the gangs of young toughs who were frightening respectable citizens all over Russia, and it has never fallen out of favor since.

"It wasn’t a gloved-fist salute from the medal stand, but Jewish-American gymnast Aly Raisman made quite a statement yesterday..."

"... by winning a gold medal and invoking the memory of the Israeli athletes killed 40 years ago in Munich."
Raisman finished first in the women’s floor exercise, but she deserves to have another medal draped around her neck for having the chutzpah to face the world and do what needed to be done and say what needed to be said.
What did she do? The linked NY Post column is really obtuse. Is it that she had "Hava Nagila" as her background music? That she said "Having that floor music wasn’t intentional... But the fact it was on the 40th anniversary is special, and winning the gold today means a lot to me"?

August 7, 2012

"You could argue that men acted badly, but it’s hard to say how the women acted."

"We haven’t studied individual behavior. Women could have acted just as badly but didn’t succeed against stronger competition."
It may be... that it is not men’s or women’s behavior that is at issue, but human behavior. “Survivors may feel bad if we accuse them of acting selfishly,” he said, “but wanting to take care of oneself rather than others — this may be normal behavior for all human beings.”

"Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows."

This post is a present to those of you who seem to be looking for a place to honor Marvin Hamlisch, who died yesterday. I don't post about every obituary, and my standard for posting is whatever it is, and it's not that my commenters keep announcing, in random posts, that somebody famous died. But I got enough of that on Hamlisch that I looked up the obit out of curiosity. What was it that people are so worked up about? I'd rather post about the death of Robert Hughes. Why Hamlisch? He was on all those awards shows, associated with a lot of movies that I don't care about, like "The Way We Were." But I saw that he wrote the old Lesley Gore hit, and I'm up for embedding that. So here's the post people seem to want.

Here's the Robert Hughes obit. He was the big "Shock of the New" art critic. (Factoid: He caught gonnorrhea from Jimi Hendrix... second hand... through his wife... or so he thought.) And for those who look for death triads, there's Judith Crist, who was certainly the first film critic I ever read. She was in TV Guide. Here's something she said about Anne Bancroft: "She seems a cowlike creature with no aspirations or intellect above her pelvis."

There you go. There they go. Are you happy now? Is your life sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows?

"Twenty five Christian worshippers were killed by gunmen on Monday night during an evening church service..."

"The attackers arrived in a Toyota van, blocked the entrance, turned off the lights in the church, and fired shots into the church building.... Fifteen of the dead were women, 10 were men."

"In Missouri, Wisconsin and Arizona, a trio of wealthy businessmen have tapped their own bank accounts to surge near the lead of Republican primary contests this month..."

"... by portraying themselves as anti-politicians ready to come to Washington to fix things."
In launching these campaigns, the wealthy businessmen are trying to tap into the general disgust many voters have for Congress, which has an approval rating just above 15 percent in most recent public polls. 
They're tapping their our bank accounts and tapping our general disgust.

"Liberals hate male strength. Liberals do not like male strength at all."

Proclaimed Rush Limbaugh the other day.
They don't like the use of force unless it's for their own ends.  They love the military when they run it, but at no other time.  They're a bunch of metrosexuals.  Metrosexual culture is pacifist.  That's why metrosexuals are liberals that rely on government force to perpetrate their agenda.  They don't do it themselves.  Government force takes the place of powerful men.
This came at the end of a rant about how liberals want to ban football. I thought it was a tad strange, actually, even though I do tend to think that liberals would like to set up the government so that women would see it as serving an array of purposes traditionally assigned to husbands.

After more than a year of forcible medication to treat his schizophrenia, Jared Loughner is found competent and pleads guilty.

He will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

"He called non-whites 'dirt people,' and sent roses to his grandmother."

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has a new and substantial article on the Sikh temple murderer, Wade M. Page:
Fred Allen Lucas, a Bloomington, Ind., man who served with Page at Fort Bragg, N.C., in a psychological operations battalion, recalled that he spoke of the need for securing a homeland for white people and referred to all non-whites as "dirt people."

"It didn't matter if they were black, Indian, Native American, Latin - he hated them all," Lucas said.

Jerry Seinfeld almost critiques liberal thought.

At one point in this comic conversation with Ricky Gervais (the new episode of "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee"). This interchange comes after much talk about how the car Jerry's driving is a death trap, and Jerry has just quoted Gary Gilmore's last words ("Let's do it"), which made Ricky laugh and then get introspective:
I really think the death penalty is too depressing to even think about. I don't agree with it that the state can show that sort of form of violence.
Jerry advances the conversation in the conventional way:
What about abortion? Do you agree with that?
Ricky gestures at the stock response:
Yeah, but that's different. Isn't it?
And here's where Jerry almost does the critique of liberal legal analysis:
I guess you can just arrange things the way you like them... when you're rich, famous, like you.
Notice how he had to catch himself and re-orient himself liberally with that when you're rich, famous. The rich must be the problem. They think they can arrange the rules to serve all their interests.

And then the final "like you" is a lifeline to Ricky, who catches it, saying, "Yeah. Unlike you, who's just a guy with an old car going along the highway, laughing maniacally 'cause someone's fear was they're about to die. I should have said 'Let's do it' when I got in this car."

And Jerry is laughing maniacally, clutching the death-trap's steering wheel in helpless hilarity. Scene over. Moving on the the coffee portion of the show.

Side note: All you Althouse blog readers who used to live in Pelham Parkway — check out the signage at 4:37.

A Bush and a Paul will speak at the Republican National Convention.

Jeb and Rand.

ABA resolution urging "breed-neutral dog laws."

At first glance it looks like the ABA House of Delegates is coming out against discriminating against dog breeds — as if it's something like racism that needs to be condemned. But:
According to the report accompanying the resolution, laws that target “pit bulls” are inconsistent with due process because it’s difficult to determine which dogs fit in the category. And even when laws are more specific in their definitions, it’s difficult to judge a dog from its appearance.
That is, the focus seems to be on the rights of the owners, that it's a due process problem to refer to a breed, when it's not clear what dogs are covered by that reference.

"Look how Sarah Palin is dressing these day!"

I say, when I see this.

Meade gives 2 responses, in quick succession:
1. "Todd digs that."

2. "It's not very Margaret Thatcher-looking."

"If ESPN is going to treat Olympic athletes as sex objects..."

"... why cheat the deluxe-size ladies out of their moment of nude glory?"

"[A] steady subculture of racist and anti-Semitic rock bands has existed on the margins of punk and heavy metal in Europe and the United States since at least the 1970s."

Writes the NYT, in the aftermath of the Sikh temple shoootings.
In an interview posted on the Web site of the record company Label56, [Wade M.] Page mentioned going to Hammerfest, an annual white-supremacist festival well known to civil rights advocates. He also said he played in various neo-Nazi bands, including Blue Eyed Devils, whose song “White Victory” includes the lines: “Now I’ll fight for my race and nation/Sieg Heil!” The company removed the interview from its site on Monday.

Analysts for the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security routinely monitor violent extremist Web sites of all kinds, including those attracting white supremacists, according to former officials of both agencies. But the department’s work on the topic has been criticized. In 2009, conservatives in Congress strongly objected to a department report titled “Rightwing Extremism,” which speculated that the recession and the election of a black president could increase the threat from white supremacists.

Janet Napolitano, the homeland security secretary, withdrew the report and apologized for what she called its flaws. Daryl Johnson, the homeland security analyst who was the primary author of the report, said last year that after the flap, the number of analysts assigned to track non-Islamic militancy had been reduced sharply. Homeland Security Department officials denied his assertion and said the department monitored violent extremism of every kind, without regard to its religious or political bent.

"Curiosity Rover Could Spark Mars Space Race."

Everyone from President Obama to Bill Nye to scientists involved with the project lauded Monday's achievement, the most expensive, heaviest, and technically complex rover ever successfully landed on Mars. It may also give NASA, an agency that has recently come under fire for ending the space shuttle program and which has been pointed to as prime for budget cuts, a much-needed boost....

"The successful landing of Curiosity... marks an unprecedented feat of technology that will stand as a point of national pride far into the future," Obama said in a statement....
Is there that much interest in Curiosity? It seems to me people won't be seriously interested in a mission to Mars until we send human beings. But the space program shouldn't be about providing excitement and emotional gratification to people. It should be science, not theater.

August 6, 2012

At the Beautiful Love Café...

... it couldn't get any better.

"Especially in a bearish economy, entrepreneurs need to be able to operate without the fear that inadvertently breaking an obscure regulation..."

"... or unknowingly violating a foreign statute could shut down their company and land them or their employees in jail," wrote Henry Juszkiewicz, the CEO of Gibson Guitar Corp., in a WSJ column last month.

Really weird seaweed.

Here. Presented to Reddit for identification:
Yes! This is my time to shine: I know what this is. Your seaweed is carrying a colony of Botryllus schlosseri, a small tunicate that lives in colder waters.

I had a feeling a random redditor would know what this seaweed was.

When everyone in the world is in a room together, all known answers to all solved questions can be given without pause.
That's beautiful, man.

"At the end of the day, the biggest impact you can make in anything is through kids."

Said the children's surgeon, who died yesterday in Lake Michigan, saving children.

"It’s hard to find pants"... size matters!

"Förstemann’s thighs, each comparable to a watermelon, measured 34 inches — wider than his waist."

The GOP will highlight its women at the convention.

Condoleezza Rice, Nikki Haley, and Susana Martinez.
Polls through the spring showed President Barack Obama outpacing Romney among female voters, although strategists from both parties say that gender gap is narrowing. A strong play for female voters at the convention should be expected.

Haley, who backed Romney in her state's first-in-the-South primary, is the youngest sitting governor in the country and her husband will deploy to Afghanistan next year. So she will probably have a strong message for military families, as well as for younger voters.

Martinez, who made history in her state and nationally when she was elected, could appeal to Hispanic women, a sizable demographic that broke for Obama four years ago. She can also address voters who feel securing the nation's Southern border is a top concern....

"So many people are, like, 'Bob, how does it feel to be on your own? To be without a home? Like a complete unknown? With no direction home?'"

"And I'm, like, DUH, I don't know. THAT'S WHY I ASKED!"

The Sikh temple shooter's band: End Apathy.

[UPDATE: I have many posts on the subject of the temple shootings. I would appreciate it if seemingly respectable journalists would take some time to discover what I am actually saying before indulging the usual shameless political nattering, which I'm seeing now at Salon and Esquire.]


The Southern Poverty Law Center put out the early characterization of End Apathy as a "racist white power" band, but I'm not sure how they know that:
A MySpace page for the band describes them as an “old school” band with “punk and metal” influences.

“The music is a sad commentary on our sick society and the problems that prevent true progress,” reads a description of the band on the MySpace page.

[The now-dead suspect Wade Michael] Page...  interviewed in April 2010... said he started the band because he wanted to “figure out how to end people's apathetic ways” and that it would "be the start towards moving forward."

The band's songs, Page said, were based on a variety of topics including, “sociological issues, religion, and how the value of human life has been degraded by being submissive to tyranny and hypocrisy that we are subjugated to.”...

“Back in 2000 I set out to get involved [in music] and wanted to basically start over,” he said. “So, I sold everything I owned except for my motorcycle and what I could fit into a backpack and went on cross country trip visiting friends and attending festivals and shows.”
MORE: At the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that has studied hate crimes for decades, reported Monday that Page was a frustrated neo-Nazi who had been the leader of a racist white-power band known as End Apathy.

Heidi Beirich, director of the center's intelligence project, said her group had been tracking Page since 2000, when he tried to purchase goods from the National Alliance, a well-known hate group.

The National Alliance was led by William Pierce, who was the author of "The Turner Diaries." The book depicts a violent revolution in the United States leading to an overthrow of the federal government and, ultimately, a race war. Parts of the book were found in Timothy McVeigh's getaway car after the bombing of the federal building Oklahoma City in 1995.

Beirich said there was "no question" Page was an ardent follower and believer in the white supremacist movement. She said her center had evidence that he attended "hate events" around the country.

"He was involved in the scene," she said.

Pierce is dead, and Beirich said the National Alliance is no longer considered to be an influential group.

Also on Monday, a volunteer human-rights group called Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.) found links between Page, his band and a white supremacist website called Stormfront.

Jeffrey Imm, who heads R.E.A.L., said in an interview Monday that someone based in Milwaukee using the name "End Apathy" began posting on the website in February 2008. Additionally, appearances by Page's band were promoted on the Stormfront site, including a white supremacist gathering in March 2012 in Richmond, Va.
The Journal Sentinel includes some links to places I don't want to link to.

IN THE COMMENTS: Sorun said:
By the way, what happened to all of the dangerous white militia groups in the 90s? They were everywhere! Did they all just decide to go bowling instead?

How much money did the SPLC raise from that great crisis?
CommonHandle said:
I find it a bit creepy that SPLC defines its "intelligence project" as following around anyone who has an association with people or groups that espouse racist beliefs, even if nothing that individual has done or said themselves comes across as overtly racist. Creepiness aside, aren't there plenty of real racists out there? people who regularly and unambiguously engage in racist speech? That the have a "profile" of this man isn't only kind of disturbing, but it seems pretty frivolous.
BarryD said:
Sometimes I think the SPLC figures that every time there are two or more white people standing on the street together, it's a white-power group.

That said, this guy was, indeed, not apathetic, in the end.

Too bad, really.

There's a lot to be said for apathy, especially among those who are fucked in the head. I think that apathy saves our society from many ills, actually.
Chip said:
From the article:

"According to Heidi Beirich, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center 's intelligence project, the group has been tracking Page since 2000, when he allegedly attempted to purchase goods from the neo-Nazi National Alliance."

How does the SPLC have access to to information about a private - and perfectly legal - commercial transaction?
Michael Ryan said:
Is it just me, or does anyone else find it weird that the SPLC allegedly knows what "goods" people are purchasing, and is following people around the country? An entire group built around stalking?
Sorun said:
The SPLC didn't prevent any of this.

What the hell good are they if they're going to get in everyone's business but not accomplish anything other than paying their own salaries.
Rob Crawford said:
The description of his band sounds like "Rage Against the Machine" and that "Peace Through Music" crap.

Thank goodness we have SPLC to tell us which is a hate group, which is a bona fide band, and which deserves hundreds of thousands in charity dollars!
Chef Mojo said:
The description of his band sounds like "Rage Against the Machine" and that "Peace Through Music" crap.

That was my first thought, too. I wonder what SLPC's criteria is in this charge?

Again, not saying he's not a white supremacist, but I'd like some very specific evidence as to why. Actually, I hope that's what this pathetic loser was, so we can get a partial explanation, so the people dealing with the aftermath of this atrocity can start to gather their lives back together.
And TMink says:
OK, it sounds like this guy is an actual, you know, racist. This is what racism looks like. It is stupid and violent and senseless.

Using the term for anything else makes horrid racism like this more acceptable.
ADDED: Whatever the degree of racism in the the punk rock music, the music is less connected to the murders than the "Batman" movies were connected to the Aurora murders. You have these artistic forms of expression that entail violence, and then you have one person who crosses over into extreme violence. What is the relationship? Be careful about seeing a stronger causal connection because you don't like the artwork in question — punk rock... Hollywood movies.... Let's try to find out what is true, not what we want or don't want to believe.

UPDATE, August 7: Here's some useful individual information about Page, based on an interview with someone who viewed him as his "closest friend" a decade ago:
Christopher Robillard of Oregon, who described Page as "my closest friend" in the service more than a decade ago, said Page was pushed out of the military for showing up to formation drunk.

He described Page as "a very kind, very smart individual -- loved his friends. One of those guys with a soft spot." But even then, Page "was involved with white supremacy," Robillard said.

"He would talk about the racial holy war, like he wanted it to come," Robillard said. "But to me, he didn't seem like the type of person to go out and hurt people."

Later Monday, Robillard told CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight" that Page likely sought attention to his beliefs "because he was always the loner type of person. Even in a group of people, he would be off alone."

Teresa Carlson, the special agent in charge of the FBI's Milwaukee office, said investigators have been told Page may have been involved with the white supremacist movement, but that hadn't been confirmed. No motive for Sunday's attack had been established, but the FBI was investigating whether the killings at the Sikh temple were an act of domestic terrorism, she said.

Page moved back to Denver after his discharge, where he had a tough time in civilian life "and was basically living on the street," Robillard said. It was during that period that Page joined a "racist band" and started to get his body inked, his Army buddy told CNN.

"I asked him why he was aligning himself with this stuff," Robillard said. "He really didn't answer. He would duck it."

Page had a girlfriend who left him for another member of the band, which then kicked him out, Robillard said. The last time they saw each other -- more than 10 years ago -- Robillard said Page was on a motorcycle trip across the country.

It was a trip Page recounted in 2010, in an online interview about his band End Apathy. He founded it in in the small town of Nashville in eastern North Carolina, where he ended up after bouncing around the country from California to West Virginia.

"I am originally from Colorado and had always been independent, but back in 2000 I set out to get involved and wanted to basically start over," he said.

The band put out at least two recordings through a label that promoted them on the neo-Nazi website Stormfront.
ANOTHER UPDATE: More here, with specific detail on Page.

"Usain Bolt vs. 116 years of Olympic sprinters."

"Based on the athletes’ average speeds, if every Olympic medalist raced each other, Usain Bolt (the London version) would win, with a wide distribution of Olympians behind him."

Beautiful graphics at the link. Why is it possible for the fastest person to be faster than the fastest person a century ago? I think that each man trained with the goal of winning in mind, and each knew how fast he needed to be to win. If Archie Hahn, the "Milwaukee Meteor," could win the 100-meter in 11 seconds, what could motivate him to shave his time down to 10 seconds?

"If my rule-breaking is ethical and safe (and Idaho-legal), why does it annoy anyone?"

Asks Randy Cohen, the original NYT "ethicist," who admits to treating stop signals as yield signals when he's on his bicycle.
I choose my riding style mindful of my own safety and that of my neighbors, but also in pursuit of happiness. Uninterrupted motion, gliding silently and swiftly, is a joy. 
And you ask why it annoys anyone! There will always be some people who are annoyed by somebody else having fun — you know, the people H.L. Mencken was knocking when he defined Puritanism as "The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy." But there's something else about rule-following that matters. If there's a system of rules, individuals can always subjectively, flexibly, pragmatically spin out all sorts of applicable exceptions that let them do what they want. Randy Cohen has used his big brain to determine that he's right about the unnecessary severity of the rule in this case, but he's promoting a style of thinking, an approach to ethics, that others will use in all sorts of self-serving ways. If we're not going to follow the rules anymore... then what?

Interestingly, Cohen ends his little essay with a quote from Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, who, we're told sometimes bikes to work:
“The advantages? Exercise, no parking problems, gas prices, it’s fun. An automobile is expensive. You have to find a place to park and it’s not fun. So why not ride a bicycle? I recommend it.” 
Now, Breyer isn't saying anything about whether or not he follows the rules, and Cohen seems to be injecting relevance by quipping: "I don’t know if he runs red lights. I hope so." But if you know a few things about Supreme Court Justices and their theories of interpretation, you shouldn't think Cohen dragged in Breyer because he's some random celebrity who, like Cohen, bikes for fun.

Breyer is not a rules guy:

"President Obama appears to be enjoying a bounce in the polls following last Friday’s jobs report."

Says Rasmussen, reporting the daily Presidential Tracking Poll with Obama at 47% and Romney at 45%.
This is only the second time in more than two months of daily tracking that Obama has reached the 47% level of support. Prior to today, he had led Romney on only one of the preceding 34 days. Romney led by four on Friday morning just before the jobs report.
Obama needs that economic good news, so look at this, in the NYT:
A rising number of manufacturers are canceling new investments and putting off new hires because they fear paralysis in Washington will force hundreds of billions in tax increases and budget cuts in January, undermining economic growth in the coming months.
Executives at companies making everything from electrical components and power systems to automotive parts say the fiscal stalemate is prompting them to pull back now, rather than wait for a possible resolution to the deadlock on Capitol Hill.
No one wants the economy to be bad, but Republicans have a political self-interest in the economy looking bad until after the election. That's not a normal "stalemate"!

"SCIENCE: Men and women apologize differently."

Writes Instapundit, but the link goes to a story about one woman's apology. If you keep reading there's a small grab bag of "science":
Without defaulting to the conventional wisdom that men have to protect fragile egos, there’s an aspect to apologizing that implies defeat, which the more competitive male gender is less inclined to concede. Tiger Woods, Anthony Wiener, and Bill Clinton all had personas shaped by winning and success, and their late-coming, highly crafted apologies lacked authenticity. They seemed more driven by those self-preserving, secondary motives of escaping punishment and guilt. It felt like none of them would have apologized had he never been caught, implying the regret originated in being exposed rather than in feeling bad.
And all of that drivel is true of the apology from the woman (Kristen Stewart) that's supposed to feel so sincere! Well, there's the answer: The perceiver of the apology has subjective feelings and is judging the woman differently (and patronizingly!).

The Sikh temple shooter was a 40-year-old former soldier named Wade Michael Page.

It's still not clear why the FBI is treating the murders as domestic terrorism. Perhaps the targeting of Sikhs by a non-Sikh is reason enough to investigate it as terrorism.
The neighbor says, as she understood it, the suspect had lived in the apartment with his girlfriend until their recent break-up. The suspect had then moved into another apartment nearby two weeks ago. She says he had returned to the old apartment and was banging on the door of his old apartment, demanding to be let in. The neighbor also said she believed the suspect had a 9-11 tattoo.
Of course, Sikhs had nothing to do with 9/11, though people sometimes mistake Sikhs for Muslims (and mistake Muslims generally for the subgroup of Muslims behind 9/11), but in a planned killing where someone goes to the place of worship, it would be harder to make the mistake.

ADDED: The FBI special agent in charge of the investigation said: "We are looking at ties to white supremacist groups."

August 5, 2012

"I heard a thump and then someone moaning."

Living and dying in Detroit.

"Dems Nominate Anti-Gay Conspiracy Theorist for Senate."

"Mark Clayton... finished on top of a crowded primary field in the race to take on GOP Sen. Bob Corker this fall."
He earned 26 percent of the vote despite raising no money and listing the wrong opponent on his campaign website....

On his issues page, Clayton sounds more like a member of the John Birch Society than a rank-and-file Democrat. He says he's against national ID cards, the North American Union, and the "NAFTA superhighway," a nonexistent proposal that's become a rallying cry in the far-right fever swamps. Elsewhere, he warns of an encroaching "godless new world order" and suggests that Americans who speak out against government policies could some day be placed in "a bone-crushing prison camp similar to the one Alexander Solzhenitsyn was sent or to one of FEMA's prison camps."
What's going on in Tennessee? One explanation is Clayton's name appeared first on the ballot.

Note: The Democratic Party has "disavowed" him, whatever that means.

The conversation turtle says...


... okay, you talk now.

Romney's Israel ad.

"The commercial then features footage of Romney appearing in the Jewish state, meeting with Israeli voters, wearing a yarmulke and visiting the Western Wall":

What do you think of that ad? free polls 

How's your optimismalso? (Is that like machismo?)

So I got distracted reading Charles Lane's book review in the Washington Post of Brian Z. Tamanaha's "Failing Law Schools." It begins like this:
In “Broadway Danny Rose,” Woody Allen plays a theatrical agent forever looking on the bright side of his clients’ sorry careers. Don’t worry, he tells a washed-up lounge singer, “you’re the kinda guy that will always make a beautiful dollar in this business.”

For the past generation or so, Danny Rose’s optimismalso applied to anyone with a law degree. Lawyering might be disappointingly tedious, but at least it was remunerative enough to justify investing thousands of dollars in tuition....
Optimismalso? Presumably, that's pronounced op-TEASE-mall-so op-ti-MEESE-mal-so. How's you optimismalso as you approach the fall semester?

Optimismalso, n.
Etymology: <classical Latin optimus best  + -ismo -ism suffix.

The quality of being showily optimistic; pollyannaishness; strutting over-confidence.
The lawyer's optimismalso entertained the jurors, who proceeded to convict his obviously guilty client.

The admissions committee laughed at the unnecessary optimismalso in the personal statement from the applicant with LSAT score 2 points above the target median.

At 1L orientation, the new students worried about the dean's display of optimismalso.
The opposite of optimismalso is peptobismolso.

What righties don't get about Manny Castro and graffiti.

Twitchy thinks it's leading a righteous fight, stirring up outrage about the "Tastes Like Hate" graffiti, spray painted on a Chick-fil-A by "Hollywood artist Manny Castro," who stepped forward to do an interview at HuffPo.
Castro said he vandalized the restaurant because Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day was “the same thing” as “Christians protesting blacks marrying whites” 40 years ago.

Uh huh. Thanks, genius, we’ve seen the photos of those intolerant hatemongers enjoying chicken with their families.

Castro also told HuffPo, “It’s paint on a wall. It got removed in less than an hour. It’s not that much of a crime — it’s a protest.”

Not “that much of a crime”?...
Uh huh, thanks, genius to you, Twitchy... and to all the deaf-to-pop-culture dupes who run with this meme. Do you think there is any way that Castro can be hurt by this? You've put photographs of his artwork out there, you've planted his slogan "Tastes Like Hate" in our minds, you've promoted him as the bad boy he wants to be, and the more outrage that's expressed the more successful he is on his own terms.

You're quoting the police as saying they hadn't heard about it, but will look into it, which doesn't make it sound as though Castro's in a whole lot of trouble with the criminal law, and you're slavering with hope that you can change that, but you don't get it that an arrest would only further promote the art career of this erstwhile nonentity.

The most-liked comment over there, from one "lazypadawan," is: "When I last checked, tagging and other sorts of vandalism are crimes. Should we do a #arrestMannyCastroNOW hashtag until the PD locks him up?" Uh, genius, do you have any idea how stupid that is? Or is lazypadawan really Manny Castro or one of his "Hollywood artist" friends?

If you don't know about the various artists who have used graffiti to leverage a career, look it up. Here's a book called "The Faith of Graffiti." It was written by Norman Mailer. In 1973. But that was a long time ago. Maybe you remember this.

Please don't use the comments to instruct me about the scrumptiousness of bait.

"I’d like to feel sorry for NBC for coming under such a plainly false accusation of racial intent."

"Except it’s what NBC does to others all the time, including when dealing with Mitt Romney...."